Sentencing of Juveniles

2625 WordsMay 7, 200211 Pages
The Sentencing of Juveniles Today, we live in a society faced with many problems, including crime and the fear that it creates. In the modern era, juveniles have become a part of society to be feared, not rehabilitated. The basis of the early juvenile justice system was to rehabilitate and create safe havens for wayward youth. This is not the current philosophy, although the U.S. is one of the few remaining countries to execute juveniles. Presently, our nation is under a presidential administration that strongly advocates the death penalty, including the execution of juveniles. The media and supporters of capital punishment warn of the "superpredator," the juvenile with no fear, remorse, or conscience. Opponents of this view…show more content…
Almost all juvenile offenders (ninety-eight percent) sentenced to death were males. The four cases involving female juveniles were in the deep south (Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia) and in Indiana. The thirteen very young offenders (age fifteen at crime) were scattered across ten different states. All sixty-nine juvenile offenders on death row were male and had been convicted and sentenced to death for murder. More than three-quarters of these cases involved seventeen-year-old offenders, and two-thirds of them were minority offenders. In contrast, eighty-three percent of the victims were adults. Two-thirds of the victims were white, and nearly half were females. The paradigm case of the juvenile offender on death row is that of the seventeen-year-old African-American or Latino male whose victim is a white adult. (Streib). Debate about the use of the death penalty for juveniles has grown more intense in light of calls for the harsher punishment of serious and violent juvenile offenders, The cry for the death penalty is most loudly heard when referring to it as a deterrent. According to Allen Kale, "it is estimated that about 76% of the American public support the use of the death penalty as a deterrent, however that support drops to less than 9% when referring specifically to juveniles." (Kale). Opponents believe it fails as a deterrent and is inherently cruel and point to the risk of wrongful conviction. The
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